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Five indispensable time management tips for accountants

What does an accountant look like? Stock photos on websites and brochures show cool, calm professionals sifting through documents or smiling at a computer. If you sometimes feel a little more frantic than this, you're not alone.

We all want our colleagues to think we have everything under control, but the truth is that time management is a challenge for many accountants. Procrastination, disorganisation and anxiety will not only reduce professional effectiveness, but also sap job satisfaction and increase stress. So how can they be avoided? Here are our five top tips to crack time management in your accountancy practice.

1.Use task lists
At the end of each day, make a list of all the tasks you have to do the next day. Then prioritise them according to importance and time sensitivity. Remember the Pareto principle: 80% of results come from 20% of efforts, 80% of problems arise from 20% of clients. Identify the key tasks which will head off problems or contribute to success.

2.Start your day with something unpleasant
It might sound strange, but tackling your least favourite task or client first thing can be really liberating. With the worst task dealt out of the way, it won't nag at the back of your mind all day.

3.Banish distraction
The urge to check emails, make a cup of tea or basically do anything but the task in hand can be overwhelming. The answer is to use an app or clock for timed, focused bursts. Allow yourself regular breaks to attend to other matters. The discipline will help focus your mind.

4.Plan for delays
If you have clients who are habitually late, you may lose precious hours fuming at them for wasting your time. Instead, keep a list of quick tasks such as organising emails, reading reports or managing your calendar. These can be completed as you wait and dropped as soon as they arrive.

5.Take a deep breath and delegate
If your hourly rate is on the steep side, your time should be spent on the tasks where you add the most value. If you can delegate, do: make a business case for a PA to manage your emails, for example. Alternatively, assess whether tasks can be handled by someone more junior; they may benefit from the experience.

Wesleyan Bank can provide a number of services to accountancy practices including finance options for your clients and yourself. From short-term loans for VAT and tax, to asset finance and practice acquisition, Wesleyan Bank can support your practice in its growth ambitions.

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